Housebound (2014)

No, this is not yet another Australian movie that I'm going to fawn all over. This is a New Zealand movie I'm going to fawn all over. Okay, I may be a bit more reserved than all that, but this is another delightfully entertaining movie from an area of the world that I always thought either was filled with exiled criminals, hobbits, or novelty folk bands.

In this movie, we have the disillusioned daughter (Morgana O'Reilly) who is forced to come back home to live with her mother and stepfather under house arrest for ineptly attempting to steal money from an ATM with an equally inept male friend. Whittling away the hours of her confinement, being as non-productive as possible, she eventually starts to believe that the house she is in - the house she grew up in - is haunted.

This is where I would normally sarcastically say that hilarity ensued, but this movie actually brings the entertainment. I still don't understand why I've been finding these Australian, New Zealand, and Irish films out there, but there are some damn good flicks being produced outside of Hollywood. Have you seen The Guard? That movie is fantastic (I think my 4.75 might have been a quarter point too low). This movie has a very small group of characters in a fairly claustrophobic space, but it develops them individually, selects the ones that will tell the jokes, the ones that will have jokes put upon them, and then advances a larger story arc to boot.

From the judgmental tone of the mother played by Rima Te Wiata to the quiet deadpan of Ross Harper as the stepfather, the characters are well written, and the actors fill them like a tired foot fitting into a comfy slipper. Everything fits in just right, and the whole effect is a soothing sensation of belonging. This is not to say that the story is relaxed - it moves right along pretty dang well.

Horror comedy is a hard one to pull off. Cabin in the Woods did it. Tucker and Dale did it, but I'd be hard pressed to think of many others. This movie doesn't go for the slapstick humor of Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil, and it goes for something still more subtle than Cabin in the Woods, but it brings some funny with it, and it does it without breaking the main story. That's got to count for something.

Direction was very good
Acting was superb
Story was very good
Dialogue was very good

Bottom Line: It does what it says it will do on the box: entertain.



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